Hurt People Hurt People

By Kerry Martin

Professional counselor and author, Joyce Meyers said, “Those who hurt us are usually hurting themselves, and their pain may be so strong that they are not even aware they are hurting us.”

As a parent, I care about my children and the relationships they are developing. I want to make sure they are being molded by friends, families and teachers who will have a positive impact on their lives as they grow. I ask my children a lot of questions about their day, the people they spend time with and how they are feeling. The responses I receive are usually positive and fun. However, there are times when I have to work through negative situations with them. We discuss why some kids aren’t accepting of others, about things like name calling, rude behavior or even why a child might kick another in the shin for no reason.

When I have these conversations, I always consider the cycle of hurt. Many of these situations can be traced back to negative influences that adults have had in the child’s life. Knowingly or unknowingly, an adult can teach a child bad behavior by the way they act and the language they use around them. Many of the children who act out have learned their behavior from an adult, who may have learned it from another.

Both adults and children can learn these bad behaviors from a variety of individuals. We are often influenced by parents, siblings, spouses, co-workers, caretakers and others who surround us on a daily basis.

Is his article, “Why Hurt People Hurt People,” author Joseph Mattera lists several common traits of people who are hurting.

• Portray themselves as victims and carry a “victim spirit”
• Alienate others and wonder why no one is there for them
• Occupy themselves with busyness, work, performance and/or accomplishments as a way of compensating for low self-esteem
• Transfer their inner anger onto their family and close friends

“Hurt people, hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today,” author Yehunda Berg says.

Show compassion to someone experiencing hurt or anger. Ask questions, show concern and talk through solutions with the individual. Today is a great opportunity to break the chain of hurt someone is experiencing by simply being kind, because often the people being hurtful are hurting themselves.

Kerry Martin is the Office Coordinator at Youth Resources.